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Qualitative entrepreneurship authorship: antecedents, processes and consequences.

Smith, Robert; McElwee, Gerard; McDonald, Seonaidh; Drakopoulou Dodd, Sarah


Robert Smith

Gerard McElwee

Seonaidh McDonald

Sarah Drakopoulou Dodd


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to report on a review of the writing practices and experiences of scholars who have published qualitative papers in the field of entrepreneurship. It evaluates existing knowledge about how “well-published” entrepreneurship scholars go about writing up qualitative research. It identifies the antecedents, processes, and consequences of qualitative research authorship as self-described by authors. Design/methodology/approach – Scholars who had published qualitative papers in the five top-ranked entrepreneurship journals over a 20-year period were asked to complete a qualitative survey about their writing practices. A qualitative analysis of 37 usable replies was undertaken. Findings – Entrepreneurship scholars perceive their qualitative research writing to be more enriching and philosophical than quantitative research. Although they feel strong connections with their research subjects, they find qualitative research difficult and time consuming to write up. It is hard to bridge the gap between working with large amounts of transcribed data and the editorial requirements of journals, without losing the vitality of data. Qualitative research and subsequent writing skills have often been learned by trial and error. Many are inspired by specific texts, which may include novels, poems or plays. Practical implications – This work shows how useful it is to discuss qualitative writing processes so that we may learn from the “blood, toil, tears and sweat” of those who have already successfully navigated both the writing and publishing of qualitative research. Originality/value – Although there is a vigorous debate within the entrepreneurship literature about the prevalence and suitability of different methods and methodological approaches, there is no explicit discussion of how researchers engage with writing up qualitative research for publication. The paper addresses this gap and shares insights and guidance from our community of practice.


SMITH, R., MCELWEE, G., MCDONALD, S. and DRAKOPOULOU DODD, S. 2013. Qualitative entrepreneurship authorship: antecedents, processes and consequences. International journal of entrepreneurial behavior and research [online], 19(4), pages 364-386. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 7, 2013
Online Publication Date Jun 7, 2013
Publication Date Aug 31, 2013
Deposit Date Sep 24, 2013
Publicly Available Date Sep 24, 2013
Journal International journal of entrepreneurial behavior and research
Print ISSN 1355-2554
Electronic ISSN 1758-6534
Publisher Emerald
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 19
Issue 4
Pages 364-386
Keywords Entrepreneurialism; Qualitative entrepreneurship research; Qualitative research; Research work; Story telling; Writing qualitatively
Public URL


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